Biotechnology / Real estate / Science / Startups

The Wistar Institute signed the lease for its 8,000-square-foot Discovery Center

University Place Associates prez Anthony Maher called the center the "anchor collaborator" of the proposed building, where Ben Franklin Technology Partners will also occupy 28,500 square feet of space with an incubator.

A June 2019 rendering of University Place 3.0. (Photo courtesy of Ben Franklin Technology Partners)

Early-stage scientific discovery organization The Wistar Institute announced this week that it will open an 8,000-square-foot space at 3.0 University Place at 41st and Market streets to support collaboration among STEM researchers.

The space, dubbed the Wistar Discovery Center, will be on the third floor of the building, and will maintain a long-term lease of 10 years with the option to take over more space within the 250,000-square-foot building. The nonprofit research institution will launch programing with adjacent organizations and aims to create lab partnerships with other companies in the building.

Wistar will maintain its HQ at 36th and Spruce streets.

“The creation of a new Discovery Center at UPA 3.0 will enable Wistar to further expand its educational, research and innovation mission through a unique culture of collaboration and partnership,” Dario Altieri, president and CEO of the Institute, told “This initiative is expected to function as a powerful catalyst to support the expansion of the burgeoning fields of biotechnology and life sciences in our region.”

Wistar is one of a handful of organizations moving into the space with the intention on collaboration. It joins 3.0 University Place alongside orgs like Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), which signed a lease in June of last year on an “innovation floor.” The proposed 28,500-square-foot space will focus on supporting early-stage technology-focused companies with incubation space, support services and strategic resources, BFTP said.

“We’ll have the opportunity to nurture projects, ignite startups, and impact the community,” Anthony Maher, president of UPA, said of the innovation floor.

Maher called Wistar the “anchor collaborator” of the entire building, saying its space for the Discovery Center on the third floor is the “heart of the building.” He emphasized that the organization’s current research into COVID-19 is “critical” to finding treatments and an eventual vaccine.

“Wistar will curate this mix of innovative organizations in a dynamic scientific environment,” said Heather Steinman, VP of business development and head of tech transfer, in a statement. “We also see the opportunity to provide critically needed shared resources and a talent training pipeline program similar to our successful Biomedical Technician Training Program which is already supporting growing companies in Greater Philadelphia.”

Wistar already relies on industry connections, especially for its technician training program for Community College of Philadelphia students to get training in life-sustaining jobs in the sciences: The program has operated for 20 years and late last year, the Institute told that it often works with biomedical companies Invisible Sentinel and Integral Molecular, both located in the University City Science Center, on their needs and desirable qualities and skills for its students.

The 3.0 University Place building is slated to begin construction in June and is expected to be completed in Q3 of 2021.

Companies: Wistar Institute / Ben Franklin Technology Partners / Community College of Philadelphia / University City Science Center

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